FREETOWN, March 7th 2023: A cross-section of the senior management staff of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), representatives from the Resilient Urban Sierra Leone Project of the World Bank and senior members of the Milton Margai Technical University (MMTU) made an inspection visit at the proposed site for the construction of an Ultra-Modern facility for the NDMA, which comprises an Emergency Operation Center, a Disaster Management School of Excellence, and a state-of-the-art office for the NDMA in Freetown.
It could be recalled that on August 14th 2017, Sierra Leone experienced a major landslide at Mortemeh, which had a massive human impact, with 1,141 people declared dead or missing and over 6,000 people affected overall. The landslide also caused major destruction to infrastructure, including 349 buildings, bridges, roads, schools, and health facilities.
Following this event, the government of Sierra Leone requested financial and technical support from the World Bank. The support was meant to ensure urgent reconstruction and rehabilitation interventions and strengthen disaster risk management capabilities through the Freetown Emergency Response Project (FERP), which was implemented by the ONS and other Departments and Agencies then.
Upon the enactment of the National Disaster Management Act of 2020 and the subsequent launch of the NDMA by His Excellency President Julius Maada in November 2020, the World Bank, through the Resilient Urban Project for Sierra Leone approved another request from the NDMA to construct an Emergency Operations Center which will include; an Emergency Operation Center, a Disaster Management School of Excellence, and a state-of-the-art office for the NDMA.
It is against this backdrop that the NDMA reached out to the MMTU authorities, requesting some land space for the construction of the Emergency Operations Center. This request was taken to the University Senate, deliberated on and got overwhelming approval.
In lieu of the above, the World Bank’s Resilient Urban Project manager, Anthony Koroma and his team, a cross-section of NDMA’s senior management staff and senior representatives of the MMTU visited the proposed site for physical assessment.
While making a brief statement, Mr Koroma said that he is aware the NDMA has been struggling to get an ideal space for the implementation of this project. “I know it has been very challenging for the NDMA. But with our visit this morning, I’m highly optimistic that this project will soon be implemented. All we were waiting for was to get an ideal land space, and I think this place is ideal. We are going to immediately form a technical committee which will have representation from all the players involved to start the technical assessment that will inform future actions.” He noted.
In the coming weeks, the NDMA and the MMTU are expected to finalize documentation for a freehold title transfer of the said land to the National Disaster Management Agency for the sole purpose of constructing an Emergency Operations Center for the Agency.